By SAT Sports Desk
MELBOURNE, 8 March: The ten bodies of Australian cricket have today released its first Press for Progress Report, which brings a heightened level of transparency and accountability to cricket’s ambition to be Australia’s leading sport for women and girls.
The report, released to coincide with International Women’s Day and two years out from the final of the ICC Women’s World T20 2020, takes its name from the theme for International Women’s Day 2018, Press for Progress, which calls for each of us to think, act and be gender inclusive.
Borne out of the Australian Cricket Strategy released in 2017, which focused heavily on the critical importance of women and girls to the sustainability of cricket in Australia going forward, the report clearly outlines how Australian cricket is performing in five key areas:
1. Gender diversity in the Australian cricket workforce
2. Development of a sustainable participation base
3. The elite talent pathway
4. The growth of women’s elite cricket
5. Women and girls as fans
Commenting on the release of the Press for Progress Report, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said:
“The Press for Progress Report reinforces our commitment for cricket to become a gender equal sport, and the importance we continue to place upon women and girls as we look towards the future. The report is about more than just talking about what we as a sport need to do to achieve our ambition to become the leading sport for women and girls. It provides transparency about the progress we are making.
“Our intention is to release an update of this report annually to demonstrate where we are, and aren’t, making progress to close the gap between where we are, and where we want to be. Our public commitment today ensures we will remain open and accountable to ourselves and to the wider community.
“Australian Cricket recognizes that equality is the future of cricket, and while women have always been a part of the sport, we know that more still needs to be done to truly make cricket a sport for all.
“We’re proud that we can point to several successes over the past few years as an indication that we are making meaningful steps to achieving our goal.
“The number of all-girls community cricket teams has increased by 357% in the past two years, the growing popularity of the BBL and WBBL has seen record numbers of girls and women enjoying elite cricket, many for the first time, and the introduction of the WBBL also creating a host of new sporting heroes for young girls and boys around the country.
“The new equity pay model implemented as part of the MOU last year cemented cricket’s leadership in the remuneration of its athletes and means all elite cricketers earn the same base rate, regardless of gender.
“At the same time, we are under no illusion that we still have significant ground to cover if we are to be successful in our ambitions, and a key element of the Press For Progress Report is to call out those areas. For example, this inaugural report shows that more needs be done to increase the representation of women working across Australian cricket, from the board level down, with women currently making up just 34% of our workforce.
“Our data also shows that while there have been gains in the number of associations offering all-girls competitions, the majority of female participation is still via school-based sampling programs, rather than a sustainable playing base.
“We also have significant ground to cover in growing the women’s elite game to where we want it, with our stated target for the ICC Women’s World T20 2020 to be the largest women’s sports event seen in Australia.
“Last but not least, with women and girls representing half of all Australians, there is also clearly room for improvement in ensuring our elite matches are entertaining to all.
“I hope that all those involved with cricket in this country can take this report as an opportunity to reflect honestly on where we need to redouble our efforts, celebrate where we are making progress, and recognize the significant opportunity we have to make cricket a sport for all.”